SAFF Championship | India assistant coach questions officials after Kuwait match
Mahesh Gawli, the assistant coach for India, criticized the referees on Tuesday after many heated exchanges marred the 1-1 draw between Kuwait and India in the SAFF Championship. Igor Stimac, Rahim Ali, and Al Qallaf were all dismissed from the game between the 81st and 85th minutes, respectively.
Stimac earned a similar punishment in the game against Pakistan last week, making this his second red card in three games.
"The refereeing was poor, and the SAFF has to think about the quality of the officials, or the tournament will suffer. Our coach (Stimac) was faultless, and the referee could not control the match. Our team was brilliant, and Kuwait was very rough," said Gawli in the post-match press conference.
Gawli claimed that even the yellow card that Stimac earned prior to receiving his marching orders was superfluous. "Our coach was just having a conversation with the player, and the referee, after talking with the line officials, approached him (Stimac) and showed the card. They were targeting him," said a visibly upset Gawli.
Stimac was unable to see India play Lebanon in the semifinals on July 1 because of the red card he received. Gawli was sincere in his admiration for Anwar Ali despite the young player giving up a 92nd-minute own goal that erased India's 1-0 lead and forced a draw.
"Anwar was brilliant and was very confident." Gawli also hailed India's captain Sunil Chhetri for his outstanding goal that gave India the lead in the first half. "He had an excellent game," Gawli remarked.